Thursday, March 19, 2009

Making the Rounds: My 3 or 4 things

As I mentioned, this 3 or 4 things thing has been making the rounds.

If I tagged you I hope you find this amusing; My rule is, I don't like to tag. So, if you want to do this, consider yourself tagged; please come play if you want to. Make up your own rules if you do play -I did.
Create a new note, copy and paste this message, delete my answers and type in your answers. Then tag a few good friends and family including the person who tagged you.

1. Heidi
2. Enji
3. Hoogie
4. *this one's between me and my sweetie and maybe a few vips*

1. convenience store clerk
2. cashier for an apple orchard for their concession trailer that went to fairs and festivals
3. home care companion

1. Laughlin, Nevada
2. Lake Burton, Georgia
3. Plymouth, Wisconsin
4. Santa Fe, New Mexico
5. Portland, Oregon

1. Bagdad Cafe
2. Raising Arizona
3. Nightmare Before Christmas
4. Across the Universe

1. Avenue of the Giants
2. Neahkanie Beach
3. The Met
4. Grand Canyon

1. Sequoia National Park to see General Sherman
2. Canada
3. Ellis Island
4. Yellowstone National Park

1. dark chocolate from semi-sweet to bitter, but not something like Hersheys
2. blueberries...but not with chocolate
3. romanesco

1. my bi-weekly massage by Leah
2. world peace
3. meeting someone new to me

1. Schroeder the cat
2. Jig the cat
3. Godzilla the turtle
(the bunny owned Jimmy)

1. shunning
2. uncontrolled rage in my presence
3. death before I'm done

1. nakedness
2. conflict
3. making mistakes

1. The Mandala Song by Kakumyo Lowe, piggybacked on Weezer's Sweater Song
2. Sit Up Straight by Kakumyo Lowe, piggybacked on Lean on Me
3. You Are My Sunshine (sung by me and my Mom when I was a little girl)

1. Mayahana (borrowed from Lisa Mann, but I like to think I would have thought of it on my own)
2. the written word
3. public transit bus
4. train

1. sugar free A&W root beer
2. water
3. good coffee and half-and-half

1. One: The Musical (local, deserves Broadway)
2. Wicked
3. Ragtime
4. Hairspray

1. work full-time
2. live in Wisconsin
3. monogamy

1. just sit
2. share a meal and conversation
3. go to a museum or some other cultural thing
4. hugs and maybe kisses too

Making the Rounds: 25 Things

Those tagging things are making the rounds of Facebook...the kinds of things that have been on blogs for years. Like the 25 made the New York Times. But wasn't it a coupla years back that bloggers were listing 100 things? So not only are people recycling memes, they're downsizing them? I think it's telling that more and more the old school media is looking to the new media for news, even NYT. I have no problem with recycling. I am just a little bothered that it's treated as if it were new. Now I'm so behind. I haven't done my 25 things...that is so 2 months ago...and now there's the lists of 3 or 4 things in response to certain questions...and that's already so 2 weeks ago. Good thing I don't try to follow trends.

This is why I don't usually blog about current events. By the time I get to that stuff, the topic is dead, cremated, and buried.

So, here I go. I'm cheating...writing from my blog, which ends up being a note in Facebook. I did begin the 25 things in Facebook when I was only 2 weeks behind, but a quirky computer thing happened and bumped me off the web page, and all was lost. You know, that magic invisible button on the laptop that closes your browser when you rest your palm there? I'm now using my desktop, and blogger automatically saves, so this won't happen again. I went to bed, and never got back to it. Hopefully it won't take me another 2 months to get to the 3 or 4 things lists.

Rules: Once you've been tagged, you are supposed to write a note with 25 random things, facts, habits, or goals about you. At the end, choose 25 people to be tagged. You have to tag the person who tagged you. If I tagged you, it's because I want to know more about you. [I'm not going to tag anybody new...they've probably already been tagged, and I don't like to tag people.]

  1. This list was rattling around in my head for weeks. I had at least 50 witty one-liners about me. They're all gone now. The only one I remember is my sincere worry that this isn't really random, but some FB Rorschach test that will reveal things even I don't know about myself.
  2. I carry my camera everywhere. It's small enough to fit in my small purse.
  3. I was about to say my first pet's name, but then I remembered hackers mine blogs for this kind of info. Maybe I shouldn't do these 25 things. Arrgh, the Rorschach thing again.
  4. I like Badtz Maru. Choco Cat will do, because Bad Penguin is hard to find sometimes.
  5. I refer to my husband as my sweetie out of respect for his other sweetie, and because there are people who are not allowed to marry. Plus it's just a better word, and better than SO or Significant Other, or partner, or boyfriend.
  6. We briefly considered not getting married, but the equivalent legal paperwork involved in getting the same sort of rights was too daunting.
  7. Damn. That wasn't random. You see how 5 followed 6. Among my plans for the 25 things was the thought that I could create them in Word or Excel, then randomize them somehow.
  8. We got married in a favorite restaurant. No ceremony, just the signing of the paper, friends to witness, and a friend to officiate. Of course there was cake and champagne. It was perfect.
  9. I was the first person in my family to go to college.
  10. I will often tell people I Escaped Wisconsin. This is a joke that hardly anyone will get because I'm referring to a Wisconsin ad campaign from the 80s, or was it the 70s, "Escape to Wisconsin". So I often will also tell them why I said that.
  11. The longest chosen relationship in my life is with my Zen teacher.
  12. Buddhism has been my salvation. You probably already knew that, but I had to say it anyway.
  13. In high school, I did a research paper on werewolves, not in an exploring the myths kind of way, but in an effort to find evidence kind of way. How embarrassing.
  14. My sweetie is often frustrated by my inability at times to answer a question directly. I respond with the reason why the answer is yes, or no, and I think I am responding directly to the question. I also often don't finish sentences. I think this is a Wisconsin thing, as I noticed it among my relatives when I visited last. Some things you can't change.
  15. I learned to swim in Lake Ellen, near Cascade, Wisconsin when I was 4 or 5 years old.
  16. I almost drowned soon after I learned to float. This happened in my neighbor's pond, where us kids congregated, and it happened because I floated further than I thought I would. My older brother saved me. As I was jumping from the bottom, trying to reach the surface, I had a vision of the crayfish snapping at my toes, and this scared me. The neighbor whose pond it was said he thought he had frogs in his pond, and it was me! I thought he was joking and was miffed that he could joke about my almost drowning.
  17. Years ago at Sunday lunch I would fantasize with my friends about having a planned community. If I won the lottery, I would buy a whole apartment building, convert some apartments to shared space, and people could share meals together, and building chores. My sweeties have always been more private than communal living allows for.
  18. I still have Sunday lunch with my homies. At least 15 years now.
  19. I truly fell in love the first time when I was 30. Before that, I had loved, but not with this kind of surrender. Before that, I wasn't capable of it.
  20. I didn't call my mom on her birthday in January. I still haven't called her. I feel bad about that.
  21. I have only been able to lose weight twice in my life. The first time, starvation diet of 200-800 calories a day and aerobics. The second time, I wasn't trying to lose weight, but I just kind of didn't feel like eating, so again it was probably 200-800 calories a day, and a lot of walking. Years of calorie counting did not help me lose weight.
  22. I have used a buckwheat husk-filled pillow for almost 20 years. There is no better pillow.
  23. Even if I were poor again, I would still have to make sure I bought good shoes. Cheap shoes would cripple me, and in my experience would wear out so often they would end up being just as expensive as the Eccos that I wear.
  24. Once upon a time I meditated pretty much every day. Now I meditate sometimes. I haven't lost touch with that samadhi though.
  25. When I was young, I was mystified at the thought of living in the city. I thought I would always live in the country. I love living in Portland, and now I can't imagine living in the country.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Facebook snippets from the past month

While I've been absent here, I've said little things here and there on Facebook. If you hook up with me there, you can keep updated not only with this blog, but with my links saved on, my books reviewed on Goodreads, and my photos posted to Flickr. There's also Flixster, so I'm thinking of keeping track of my movies there rather than IMDB.

Here's some of my updates from Facebook (sorry FB can just ignore this):

February 10: I watched this thanks to Choten’s recommendation.

February 10: I walked home among snowflakes larger than a cat's paw. I said, "Helloow crow! Do you like the snow?" (nobody had a response to that)

February 18: I'm putting some final touches on, and practicing my flannel board story. It's based on "Moving Day" by Robert Kalan, about a hermit crab finding a new shell

February 21: listening to "The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian," written and spoken by Sherman Alexie. I am in love.

February 22: The sticker machine was a big hit in Dharma School this am. I talked to my dad this pm. Found out last week was worrisome, but he seems ok now.

February 25: I said this

this doesn't seem a bit neutral, but a bunch of quibbling about generalizations labeled as fact so they can make generalizations. I wonder if this country will ever stop harping about chump change, when the biggest corporate welfare handout deals in the art of violence and destruction. over 1 trillion dollars a year to militarism, and they're worried somebody might get a deal with their 1/4 million dollar mortgage over-extension?
in response to this link posted by Cynthia.

February 25: I posted this article about the library. and as you can see, got into a little online tiff.

March 6: I posted this after Terri posted it, and said,
it's funny how when there's all that squawking about big government spending, about handouts, about the cost of helping people get the basics of food, shelter, and health...there's no mention of the cost of warmongering and ubiquitous militarism.
Two people liked it.

March 6: This comment I made: “you know you're really a Buddhist when you get over being A Good Buddhist” on this article and made someone laugh.

March 6: I finally cleaned up the clutter in my library. I had to so I could find the book I need for Dharma School. It wasn't was on my desk.

March 7: I tried to buy this. I was outbid by Domyo.

March 7: Ack! I just realized I prepared a different Dharma School lesson than I intended, but it's for the best. New plan is better.

March 9: I won a prize without doing anything. They're sending it tomorrow. page 3; now I'm off to my massage.

March 11: I got my new cpap machine. this one self-adjusts air pressure. maybe now I will sleep better.

March 11: I'm learning about dogs, and which ones get along with cats. I thought I'd wait til summer's over for a new animal friend but I don't think I can wait.

March 12: I got my prize from trimet: the book “Walk There: 50 treks in and around Portland and Vancouver.” My friend Mary gets the book.

Catching Up

Those who are not on Facebook but read me here wouldn't know why the silence, but may have guessed. Yes, my cat Jig died. I didn't feel ready to write about it at first, then I felt like that was the first thing I should write about, and then not writing became a habit. That's often been a pattern of procrastination for me....because I don't feel like doing the thing I think I should do first, I don't do any of it.

The first night after the first visit to the vet, I had a dream. I kept it to myself for a long time. There was a creature after Jig, and I was trying to save her from it. It was spiky-faced and black with a big wide mouth and sharp fangs. I was only somewhat succeeding in keeping it at bay when I woke up. I didn't know if it got to her or not. I tried to do that waking thing where I complete the story of the dream the way I want it to be, but that doesn't work. I knew this wasn't good. Throughout my life, I have rarely dreamt about those who are closest to me. It is only when they have died, or have left me, or about to die or leave me, that I dream about those that are as much a part of me as my own blood. I guess those I've shared oxytocin with. I didn't want to give the dream any more power than it already had in my head.

A few days after that dream, I realized that creature was like an animal version of Lord Yama. This is, believe it or not, another reason I kept it to myself. I didn't want to spark conversations on the cosmology of Buddhism, and how I feel about it, which is 'I don't know.' or 'both-and.' Or quite likely, 'it's all in our heads, but what does that mean if we are all interconnected?' It was kind of like this graffiti dragon that showed up a week or so later. At the very least, I knew my subconscious was telling me how serious this was with Jig.

On February 15th, Jig didn't come out all day. When I went to find her to feed her, she was hiding deep under a piece of furniture. She was gasping for breath. She didn't want to come out. I knew she was trying to die, and trying to do this alone. Again this was a Sunday evening, and again we took her to the emergency pet hospital. The doc thought she was likely experiencing heart failure, that when muscles waste away from weight loss, this sometimes damages the heart too. Jig seemed to be desperately asking us to make the pain stop, to let her be so she could stop. She seemed to be all bone, skin, fur, and pointy tips. While the doc gave us the option of more tests, etc, we decided to let her go. Steve said, "You're a good cat, Jig," which made me cry all the more.

I realized she looked a bit like the creature from my dream. In some way I couldn't shake the feeling that Jig had shared my dream, that she had made this decision over a month before, and we'd only been delaying something that had already occurred. After she was gone, I noticed a change in myself. My legs worked better. Sometimes I felt like my circulation was poor, and I had difficulty standing. Now my legs felt fine. While I was grieving, I felt less depressed and more able to do things. These past few years, Jig and I have had quite an empathetic connection, and it occurred to me perhaps I'd been experiencing a physiological empathetic reaction to her weakness and her sadness. It wouldn't be the first time I've done something like that. Now that she's gone, I'm learning just how much she defined me. I still have the thought when I come home, "Soon I'll see Jig." Sometimes it's that verbal, sometimes it's an image or a feeling of her about to be on my lap. I still have the habit of peeking behind the bathroom door before I go in there to make sure I don't startle her if she's in the litter box.

Now that she's absent, I've realized just how much less of a barrier it is between my identity and an animal friend's, than it is between me and another human. We can be more physically close, lap-sitting for hours. I can pet her whole body in one motion. Most of our language is non-verbal. There is less of a sense of separateness, whereas with a human, even a lover, there's almost always an awareness that our thoughts are separate, that we are separate selves. So while I grieve for a lost love, I also grieve for a lost piece of myself. The part of me that was me-and-Jig can no longer be what she was.

How did I get to be 41 and not experience this, you ask? Jig was the first animal that lived this long with me. As a child, many of our cats didn't live very long, being outdoor animals in a rural area. Our dogs, too, were outdoor animals, and while there was some of that intimacy of snuggling together on the floor, I didn't get so close as I did with Jig. And, well, I've learned to love more deeply in the decade I've known Jig. Indeed I believe she taught me I could love an animal with all my heart. She taught me to see the Buddha in her.

You're a good cat, Jig. I miss you.